Dedicated to all victims of the fatal DB rail car fire on 11-6-2002 In Nancy, France
Welcome - Wilkommen - Bienvenue
May their voices be heard, their sacrifice never forgotten
500 KM MARCH TO MUNICH CALLS ON
DEUTSCHE BAHN TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
The March to Munich calls on Deutsche Bahn to take responsibility for the 2002 fatal rail car fire which killed 12 passengers en route through Nancy, France. The 500 km march will leave from the Nancy rail station on 11.6.11 at 7.30 hrs and is expected to take 14-18 days.
©2011, 11-6, All Rights Reserved. Other links.
Arrived 11.6.2011 - 11.22.11
(500 KM March To Munich ... continued:)
According to march organizer Rollin Amore, “DB’s refusal to accept responsibility is shameful, especially when you read the report from the investigation.” He went on to say “The list of unsafe practices and lack of safety equipment is long. From locked exit doors blocking escape and rescue, to hidden emergency window hammers, the victims never had a chance. If car operator DB is not responsible, then who is, the victims? DB’s refusal to take responsibility is not only sad, it disparages each and every victim on that car.” Upon the march’s arrival at the main rail station in Munich, Amore will call on DB to take responsibility so that the victims and their sacrifices are never forgotten. The march will also honor the victims by completing the unfinished Nancy to Munich leg of their journey.
The march is organized by Rollin Amore, Washington, DC whose mother, brother, sister in-law, niece and nephew were killed in the fire. “This is what happens when a powerful corporation’s resources are used to shamelessly mow down anyone who dares get in their way. And while I may be no match for their political and financial firepower, I am prepared to dedicate my life to righting this terrible wrong they have wrought on the victims and their families.” Begun as a personal quest for Amore, all are welcomed to join the march, be it for only 1 meter or 500 km. Information can be found at: www.11-6.org
In a June 2011 trial in Nancy, France, a tribunal found the DB employee car attendant guilty of involuntary manslaughter while absolving DB and SNCF, verdicts currently under appeal by the prosecutor. While Amore was grateful to address the court at trial, he was disappointed by the verdicts and hopes that justice will prevail in the appeal. “While DB’s strategy to blame the attendant persuaded the court, it is insincere best and dishonest at worst. The victims did not die because the attendant panicked, they died at the hands of unsafe policies, training and equipment and a corporation’s blinding arrogance.
Editorial Submission: The Long Journey Home
On November 23, I completed a 500 km march to protest railroad Deutsche Bahn’s denying its responsibility for a fatal 2002 train fire which killed 12. Motivated by neither personal gain nor revenge, the 17 days march from Nancy, France to Munich, Germany, also honored the victims, completing their journey which was tragically cut short by an accident that need not have happened. More than emotional satisfaction for the families of the victims, DB’s acceptance of responsibility is an antidote for denial’s seductive false sense of righteousness and reckless indifference to passenger safety. (more)
(Editorial Submission: The Long Journey Home ... continued)
The fire in Nancy on the Paris to Munich train started when the attendant’s bag, placed on a hot stove, ignited his jacket hanging above. With no fire extinguisher and unable to control the fire, the panicked attendant fled without alerting the sleeping passengers on a 40 year old wooden car that lacked smoke detectors, fire alarms, extinguishers, emergency instructions, communications,…etc. in the compartments. Defying common sense, emergency exit doors were locked both the inside and out. In a horrifying specter, three victims were found just inside the exit door, their skin fused to the metal floor by the intense heat, their escape presumably stopped on the wrong side of a locked door, outside of which, rescuers needed more than 10 minutes to break through. The last hope for escape through the windows was cruelly blocked as the emergency hammers were missing, stashed somewhere in a closet. And while DB also blames the attendant, he had only one day of safety & emergency training in 42 years with DB. No mere accident; this was a tragedy waiting to happen.
The 500 km March to Munich ended with my arrival at the Munich train station to present a petition to DB to accept responsibility for the cause and consequences of the fatal train fire. I was met there by DB’s Klaus-Dieter Josel Konzernbefollmaechtigter, who was cordial and concerned. And while not with DB in 2002, he seemed to be well briefed on the incident.
Mr. Josel explained DB’s position that the rail car had met all required safety standards and that the French railroad SNCF was technically liable, not DB. I explained that even though I understood DB’s motive to deny responsibility to limit corporate liability, that did not make it right, (the reason why I had just marched 500 km.) Technically meeting safety standards did not mean it was safe. With no smoke detectors, fire alarms, extinguishers, emergency window releases, posted instructions, toxic fume retardants, emergency lighting…etc, how did this rail car meet safety standards? Were existing cars exempted from safety regulations implemented after 1964? Is this a responsible assessment or public presentment of safety?
As for DB’s position that SNCF was technically liable, that does not change the fact that the rail car was owned, operated and manned by DB. SNCF only provided the engine pulling the train, totally unrelated to the cause of this accident. It was DB who locked the doors, failed to install safety equipment, hid the window hammers, lacked training, placed coat hooks over stoves…etc. on this rail car, not SNCF. DB needs to face the reality of their incompetence. DB was responsible for 12 deaths, not SNCF.
In May, 2011, a Judicial Tribunal in Nancy found the DB car attendant guilty of involuntary manslaughter, while favoring co-defendants SNCF and DB with acquittal. While I respect the legal forum, I am disappointed by the high bar of liability which revolved around a narrow point; whether any victims were alive while the fire fighters were breaching the locked doors to gain entry. Presumably, this would determine whether the locked doors contributed directly to any deaths, a point apparently not proved at trial. What about the three passengers found dead just inside the locked doors? What about the survivors on the tracks trying to break the windows with rocks as they watched my 12 year old niece’s hand slide down the window for the last time? How are we sure that my mother, my nephew and she didn’t first try to escape by the door, or couldn’t find the window hammer? As the verdicts are currently on appeal, I would hope that the scope of liability be appropriately expanded in any re-trial.
Equally puzzling is how the car attendant could be found guilty, but not DB. Not some “rogue” employee, for 42 years he was a legitimate public representative of DB. If the company is not responsible for the actions of its employees in the course of its good faith professional efforts, who is? While I may not understand French law, I do understand when a verdict is both unfair and cruel to the victims.
'If the law supposes that,'said Mr Bumble...'the law is a ass, a idiot.'
Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist
The first charge of any transportation company is safety. Hiding behind the skirts of technicalities and loopholes is morally bankrupt breeding contempt and a reckless indifference to the safety of rail passengers. I again call on DB to do what is morally right, to acknowledge and accept its due responsibility for the fatal train fire in Nancy, France on Nov 6, 2002. I urge DB to step forward and admit the truth so that in it can move forward to present a safer transportation alternative for the peoples of Germany, Europe and the world.
Rollin Amore’s mother, brother, sister in law, niece and nephew were killed on November 2, 2002 on the Paris to Munich train fire in Nancy, France. Mr. Amore lives in Washington, DC in the USA.
Rollin V. Amore
5431 32nd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20015